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By Steve Pincus

For 200 years historians have considered England’s excellent Revolution of 1688–1689 as an un-revolutionary revolution—bloodless, consensual, aristocratic, and chiefly, good. during this extraordinary new interpretation Steve Pincus refutes this conventional view.

By increasing the interpretive lens to incorporate a broader geographical and chronological body, Pincus demonstrates that England’s revolution was once a eu occasion, that it happened over a couple of years, no longer months, and that it had repercussions in India, North the US, the West Indies, and all through continental Europe. His wealthy old narrative, in accordance with lots of recent archival study, lines the transformation of English overseas coverage, spiritual tradition, and political economic climate that, he argues, used to be the meant end result of the revolutionaries of 1688–1689.

James II built a modernization application that emphasised centralized regulate, repression of dissidents, and territorial empire. The revolutionaries, in contrast, took benefit of the hot financial chances to create a bureaucratic yet participatory kingdom. The postrevolutionary English kingdom emphasised its ideological holiday with the earlier and predicted itself as carrying on with to conform. All of this, argues Pincus, makes the fantastic Revolution—not the French Revolution—the first really glossy revolution. This wide-ranging publication reenvisions the character of the fantastic Revolution and of revolutions quite often, the reasons and results of commercialization, the character of liberalism, and finally the origins and lines of modernity itself.

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Extra resources for 1688: The First Modern Revolution (The Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-C)

Sample text

If anything should be celebrated, it is the recurrent moderation of the British. 40 This was not, however, always the only available interpretation of the Revolution of 1688–89. Throughout the eighteenth century some Britons, some Europeans, and some North Americans understood the revolution to be a politically, morally, and socially transformative event. That this view, contested as it was throughout the eighteenth century, has disappeared owes little to historical research. Scholars have investigated the nature of James’s rule, not the content and origins of the revolutionary consequences of 1688–89.

16 For Opposition Whigs, the popular resistance of the revolutionaries in 1688–89 was lawful because they believed deeply in the principle of popular sovereignty. ” Half a century later, the Bristol Baptist and Whig Caleb Evans argued that the revolution marked the triumph of “the immortal Locke, the assertor of liberty” over the defender of patriarchal kingship Robert Filmer. ”17 Opposition Whigs placed far less emphasis on the restoration of the ancient constitution than they did on the transformation of the moral and practical basis of politics brought about by the revolution.

Instead of asking why James II was overthrown in 1688–89—the unacknowledged question for most scholars—I ask why English state and society was transformed in the 1680s and 1690s. In Part II of this book, then, I part ways with the establishment Whig interpretation of the Glorious Revolution by insisting that English economic life, and England’s place in the European economy, was changing dramatically in the second half of the century. James II, I suggest, tried to harness these energies to create one version of a modern English state.

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